Order Up!!

Chopped Chef Nightmares

Order Up! delivers iOS gaming at a budget retail price!
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: April 22, 2012
Order Up! actually made its debut on the venerable Wii system back in 2008 (yeah, I called the Wii venerable) before seeing a port to iOS, PS3 and eventually the 3DS. If you haven't guessed by the platforms Order Up! has been on, its a game which focuses on using motion/touchscreen controls and gives you TOTAL CONTROL of running a restaurant.


In this case, total control amounts to playing Cooking Mama with a little time-management and light upgrading thrown in. Most of the action revolves around crafting up culinary creations by completing a series of minigames as quickly as possible. These minigames are pretty banal, and are only given a bit of life in you hook up a Move controller so shaking a pan to prevent eggs from scorching and chopping carrots feels a little more involved. Even then, the eight or so actions are simplistic and repetitive throughout the various recipes that it's hard to put in a lot of continuous time playing.

A new game of Order Up! will put you in charge of The Gravy Boat, a greasy-spoon type diner where you'll only be able to serve a few meager plates of food like burgers and omelets. Customers shuffle in and place orders, while you hop from station to station in the back shredding lettuce and dunking fires in hot oil trying to get everything plated perfectly and at the same time. Rinse and repeat for 10 or so customers until the day mercifully ends. Before each day, you'll have a chance to purchase some upgrades with the cash you've made, ranging from expanded menu items to equipment upgrades that cook food faster. You can also hire a few sous chefs that can handle some simple cooking tasks for you when you get "in the weeds", but don't count on them making the highest quality dishes unless you only let them work on their specialities.

After a few days, you'll unlock the marketplace, where you can go and buy new special recipes and visit the spice booth. Spice plays an important part int he game, as many customers will want a little extra kick in their pancakes, and if you don't have enough of the right spice to tantalize their tastebuds (spicy, sweet, sour, etc…), they won't be as satisfied as they could be. The spice dealer also has a spice chopping minigame that is… quite similar to Fruit Ninja.

Once your restaurant has established itself, you'll start to get special visitors, like the health inspector who wants to make sure all your dishes are clean. Of course that can only be proven by engaging in another minigame! Even if you pass, you'll still face a visit from a pack of rats who CAN'T be used as a special ingredient, so you'll have to whack them out of existence. Eventually the biggest customer of all shows up, the critic. Cook him the perfect meal. and you'll get the highest rating and unlock a new restaurant for you to cook at. What a country!

That's about it, really. There are 5 restaurants and it'll take a pretty good amount of time to cook enough meals to get them all rated as high as you can. There's a sort of competitive cook-off mode for two players that gives you just a hint of WarioWare, but a lack of variety means it grows tiresome quickly. Graphics look like… a cell phone game. The spoken dialogue is sparse, but not sparse enough to cover up the fact that they didn't record very much of it. The Move support does elevate the game, but if you took that away, you could see a game with this depth being found in the minis category rather than a disc release.

Aspiring Gordon Ramseys who want to take control of a restaurant should stick with the iOS version.
The Verdict
5.5

A neat toy for your Move, it's hard to justify even a budget retail price for a game that belongs on the lower rung of the PSN price scale. The frantic minigames evoke a few hours of fun, but things don't change enough to keep it fresh.

5.0Graphics:

Low-res 2D cartoony graphics are pretty boring. Even the colors, which should pop off the screen, are really somewhat muted.

5.0Sound:

Music by El Generico, voice acting by Pho Nin.

9.0Control:

The dualshock controls are pretty nifty, but the real star is the good implementation of Move controls. If you close your eyes and light your favorite food aroma candles, you might think you were running your own restaurant just for a second.

5.0Gameplay:

It's a handful of minigames dressed up with a mundane time management sim, and it doesn't offer enough carrots to keep you coming back to the same tasks every time.